Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

April 2 letters to the editor

Pipeline’s pros can’t outweigh its cons 

A guest essay in Sunday’s Dominion Post (3-26-23) extolling the benefits of finishing the Mountain Valley Pipeline is so glaringly misleading that a response is required.  

The remaining unbuilt section would cross the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail — one of the most pristine areas in Appalachia. People who live there have seen whole sections of already built pipeline slide down the steep hillsides, an unstable terrain where a pipeline eruption and possible explosion seem inevitable. The construction of pipelines to carry natural gas at high pressures of 1,200 psi, some to ports on the coast where it will be sold overseas, risks the safety of many here for the profit of a few elsewhere. 

This pipeline will not benefit the common good. Landowners will lose their land through eminent domain and see a decrease in their property values, while profits go to the corporate shareholders. Fewer tourists, hunters and fishermen will visit an area that looks industrialized. Soil erosion from these massive scars on the land will destroy trout streams and water quality. Tax revenue will decrease in this area and ratepayers may be stuck paying off this boondoggle as renewable energy makes fossil fuels less economic. 

Further, fracking for natural gas mostly benefits the few people who sell it. The pollution and noise from fracking lower the quality of life for everyone who lives in proximity. We are experiencing 24/7 noise now from construction of a new fracking pad in our neighborhood. When the drilling starts, it will be far worse. 

West Virginia has been under the thumb of the fossil fuel industry for too long, making us one of the least healthy and least prosperous states in the country. We must vote for leaders who look to the future and promote the economic prosperity of clean energy. 

Betsy Lawson  

Do people understand the damage ARs can do? 

Once again, children have been murdered at their school by an angry person shooting an AR-15-style weapon. 

What are AR-15-style weapons and why are they so effective in killing children? 

Colt bought the patent for the AR-15 automatic rifle from the Armalite Rifle Co. in 1957 (Washington Post, “Varmints, soldiers and looming threats: See the ads used to sell the AR-15,” 3/28/23). Colt’s Patent Firearm Manufacturing Co. then marketed this automatic rifle to the U.S. military in 1959, which renamed it the M16 for use during the Vietnam War. 

Five years later, in 1964, Colt started selling a semi-automatic version of the AR-15 to the non-military market. Crucially, the .223 caliber cartridge, which the AR-15 uses, is lethal when fired at a person but is too small for large game hunting, and the AR-15 rifle is not accurate enough for varmint shooting. 

How effective is the .223 caliber cartridge in killing people when fired from the AR-15? According to Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital (Washington Post, “The Blast Effect,” 3/28/23), a round from an AR-15 lands with shock waves sufficient to blow apart a skull and demolish vital organs. During surgery, the body tissue of a person hit by one of these projectiles crumbles in the surgeon’s hands. In some cases, the victim’s body is so damaged that it can only be identified using DNA because the person is unrecognizable. 

Why do our elected officials still allow children to be hunted by a weapon intended for war — one that usually guarantees the person targeted will not survive, regardless of available medical assistance? 

Maybe the first step in taking these weapons of death out of circulation is to require photographs of the mangled bodies of murdered children and other innocents be publicized in the mass media to ensure there can be no misunderstanding our elected representatives are complicit in not doing anything effective to keep weapons of war out of the hands of would-be mass murderers. 

Richard Cohen 

Church’s Friday fish dinners have been great 

I just wanted to say thank you to the St. John University Parish and its sponsor Apple Annie’s for the wonderful fish dinners during the season of Lent — Fridays from 5-7 p.m. 

We’ve had the nicest experience! Wonderful food, very friendly people and a beautiful setting!  

Jan Yanni  

West Virginia could be a semiconductor hub 

There is a battery factory and solar panel factory being created in southern West Virginia. Why not a semiconductor foundry and design company? The federal government is earmarking around $53 billion for the technology sector. The global demand for semiconductors will double in the next 8-10 years. 

We could start by designing integrated circuits. A computer architecture course and a Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) design course could be offered at WVU. 

Locally, a foundry could be built at the Fairmont Technology Park, the Mylan facilities or the WVU Innovation Corp. 

General Electric moved its semiconductor circuit design center to North Carolina in the 80s. We could do something similar. There is a Microelectronics Center in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. West Virginia could do the same. 

As proof of concept, the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is going to put a facility in Arizona. Advanced Micro Devices will use that foundry. 

Rare earth elements are found in many places — U.S., South America, Australia and South Africa. The 17 rare-earth elements are: scandium (Sc), yttrium (Y), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb) and  lutetium (Lu). 

Walter Michael Kwapien 

Stop the guns. Start with AR-15-style weapons  

Gun-related deaths this year alone are over 9,800, with 130 mass shootings. How many days have we completed this year? Roughly 100 days! 

U.S. data show, on average, more than 50 people are killed each day by gun violence. We are the only so-called most developed nation in the world that silently watches this style of execution, leading with 79% internationally. 

Politicians are elected to protect the people, especially children and adults who happen to be innocent bystanders and do not embrace guns. No place in this country is safe from gun assaults these days. 

Precious life must take precedence over that famous gun lobby supported by politicians. The NRA is the most powerful lobby in America. Gun rights groups have spent more than gun control groups in recent years. Political solutions are plenty to stem the violence, but politicians lack the will to follow through. 

What is this nation going through? When is this going to end? No two ways about it — guns should only be in the hands of responsible people. God save this country and its inhabitants. 

Syamala Jagannathan